Log In

Reset Password

Small game hunting on Sunday?

Hunters are excited about being able to hunt deer and bear on Sundays. According to the proposed season dates for the Pennsylvania 2020-21 hunting seasons, the Game Commission plans to allow Sunday hunting on three consecutive weekends: deer archery season on Nov. 15, bear season on Nov. 22 and deer firearms season on Nov. 29.

Unfortunately, the language of the pending Sunday dates restricts species to only deer and bear. But two of those Sundays (Nov. 15 and Nov. 22) fall during the state’s small game hunting season.

“I wrote all kinds of letters (to the PGC) in support of Sunday hunting, thinking I was going to be able to hunt grouse on those days,” said Mary Hosmer, Ruffed Grouse Society, St. Mary’s Chapter. “I can go out and hunt small game – pheasant, squirrel, grouse — during archery season, so I don’t understand why hunting small game can’t be included on those two Sundays.”

It would be an understatement to describe Hosmer as an avid grouse hunter. She lives for it and is dedicated to her state and national Ruffed Grouse organizations. A graduate of the University of Maine, Orono, her work as a biologist took her to various states before she settled in the northern part of Pennsylvania’s Elk County.

She said that while out pursuing grouse with a bird dog, she’s only once encountered bear hunters. It wasn’t a problem, she said.

“I saw them, they saw me,” Hosmer said. “We talked some, and I basically said let me get my dog and I’ll get out of your way.”

Both the Ruffed Grouse Society and the American Woodcock Society (RGS/AWS) were strong supporters of Senate Bill 147, which would expand Sunday hunting opportunities. Now members of those groups are disappointed.

“We are disappointed that the proposed implementation entirely overlooks the importance of small game hunting as an opportunity to recruit and retain hunters,” the organization posted on its website and FB pages. “We do recognize that expanding some Sunday hunting opportunities will require additional time to navigate – in particular, any changes to season dates for American woodcock, other webless migratory birds, and waterfowl will require coordination with the federal regulatory framework.”

“We therefore look forward to working with the Pennsylvania Game Commission on next steps to advance additional Sunday hunting opportunities under their current authority.”

If you haven’t already done so, there’s no time like to present to join the PA Federation of Sportsmen and Conservationists, now more than 70,000 members strong. The PFSC will hold its annual convention March 14 and 15. During the convention, the PFSC will be taking a vote to see if its members support the organization working with the PGC to allow small game hunting on the archery deer and the bear season Sundays.

If you’re a member, you can vote. It’s a way to make your voice known. The PFSC was hoping for the maximum Sunday opportunity.

“We understand the historic nature of this change and that the agency typically moves in measured steps,” the PFSC said in a statement. “We look forward to the Commissioners adding opportunity moving forward.”

If you would like to make a comment on the decision to restrict species to only deer and bear during the archery and bear season Sundays, you may write to pgccomments@pgc.gov. If you are a member of PFSC, please copy info@pfsc.org. For more information contact www.pfsc.org.

Hunters and their dogs would welcome the opportunity to hunt small game such as pheasant and grouse on Sundays. Looks like further expansion of Sunday hunting will be one step - or pawprint - at a time. LISA PRICE/TIMES NEWS